The reason why the cravings of men and women are different
Everyone has cravings from time to time, regardless of sex. It is that sensation that appears suddenly and makes you want an ice cream tub, a wedge of cheese, or something sweet, even after having filled up at dinner.
Although giving in to cravings relieves you in some way, it is a drag if you end up with heaviness or if they get between you and your weight loss goals. Understanding cravings better are essential, and the first thing to know is why they appear.
When you have a craving, your body is trying to tell you something
Whether you are a man or a woman, hormone expert Alisa Vitti argues that needs are always a sign.
“In most cases, cravings are due to the body asking for certain specific micronutrients, so salty cravings may indicate a magnesium deficit and dairy cravings may indicate a calcium deficit if you have cravings for sweets. Or if you have an urge for carbohydrates, you probably have a deficiency of essential fatty acids, ” Alissa explains.
If you are a woman, many of your cravings are caused by your menstrual cycle
Although the image of a woman eating chocolate days before having the period is partly a cliché, the truth is that the menstrual cycle influences cravings. “Our hormones perform a very important symphony in the female body,” explains Dr. Ellen Vora. “The nutritional needs will be different depending on the stage of the menstrual cycle in which you are, and the hormones will guide your cravings.”
For example, during ovulation (in the middle of the cycle), the body looks for healthy sources of high-quality proteins, such as eggs, nuts, and lean meats. During the period, however, iron levels drop, so you need foods rich in this mineral, such as green vegetables, legumes, and red meat, if you like them.
If you notice that you crave certain foods when the period is approaching, it may be due to a hormone-induced deficit (for example, many women want chocolate when they have magnesium deficiency). Still, it may also be because the levels of Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, which causes a worse mood and makes you want to take reward foods, such as pizza or ice cream.
Vitti adds that most women notice cravings in the second half of the menstrual cycle. “It is when the metabolism is accelerated, and women need more micronutrients and calories to perform the luteal phase and the menstrual phase compared to the first half of the cycle,” he explains. Most of the cravings in this second half are related to the search for pleasant foods when mood and energy are low (such as sweets, if you like them, or some salty food, if you are more of that style), but try not to yield: what your body needs are nutrients, so refill your fuel well.
Yes, men also have hormonal imbalances
It is known that women have hormonal imbalances, but men can also experience them. When a hormonal imbalance occurs, cravings arise. “Men can have hormonal imbalances with testosterone and Estrogen, just like women, and they are the result of a micronutrient deficit. When it happens, cravings arise,” says Vitti.
Vora adds that men’s cravings tend to have more to do with the way they use their bodies instead of cyclic hormonal changes. “The men’s body requires nutrition that prepares them to overcome obstacles and needs slightly different from those of the women’s body,” he explains. In other words: a man who does a lot of exercises probably has different cravings than a man who spends the day watching TV.
Do men and women have different cravings?
According to Vitti and Vora, cravings are not based on both sex and hormonal imbalances and micronutrient deficits. However, cravings may vary slightly depending on the nutritional needs of each.
“Most people turn to addictive foods, such as gluten, dairy, sugar, and the flavorings of processed foods. This addiction eclipses the subtle variations between men’s and women’s cravings,” says Vora.
The expert says that if these cravings for similar addictive foods are eliminated for everyone, the rest of the cravings are summarized in the different nutritional needs and varied tastes of each. “To add more complexity to the issue, women have different nutritional needs at different times of their menstrual cycle,” he says.
What should I do when you have a craving?
The million-dollar question: is it better to give in when you have a craving? Alisa Vitti says yes. “Always, but in the healthiest way possible. The expert has an application called MyFLO that helps to understand the meaning of cravings to know what healthy foods can satisfy you at a particular time in the menstrual cycle.
Vora believes that you don’t always have to give in: “The only guide you need is this: do you feel like real food, like meat, fish, eggs, poultry, vegetables, fruits, nuts, starchy vegetables or fermented foods? Or do you crave addictive foods like ice cream, pizza, cookies, cheese, and sugar? If you want food, trust your body and give it that whim. ”
If you always have an urge for unhealthy food, it is best to refrain as much as possible. “Sometimes, however, the most appropriate option is to eat something (small) that satisfies the craving and gives you pleasure, even if it is an addictive food,” Vora says. “Sometimes, there are more things to live for than simply having optimal health, and satisfying a longing for a particular culinary experience can be a true act of self-love.” Now that you understand your cravings better, you can give in when you consider it appropriate.